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Direct-Entry MSN vs. ADN and work as bedside RN with master's?

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by Y'all Y'all (New) New

I am debating between a direct-entry MSN program or my CC for ADN. I know that's confusing but those are the two best options for me as the MSN is the same price (or cheaper) and length as my local ABSN programs and I could get graduate student loans. I'm still considering CC so I could finish school debt-free before bridging to my BSN. My local CC has one of the best program in the state and is down the street from our family who could help with childcare.

If I did the MSN program, would it be frowned upon to work as a bedside ICU nurse after? Would an accelerated MSN program be much more rigorous than a CC ADN program? I am interested in CRNA school eventually and the path to that would be faster/cheaper if I already had a master's vs. BSN. I know this is all very specific, I'm trying to do it right the second time around and think longterm without boxing myself in.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on the issues. You just need to decide which path you prefer. The MSN will probably get you to CRNA faster -- but it would probably be more expensive. The ADN route would be cheapest, but it would take the longest. The ABSN would be a hybrid of the other two.

With any of those paths, there is no guarantee that you would ge a job as a staff nurse in an ICU right after graduation. Some ICU's don't hire many new grad ADN's, they prefer BSN's. Some might be hesitant to hire an MSN-entry grad because they don't want to invest a lot in your orientation only to have you leave your staff nurse position as soon as you can. etc. etc. etc. With any path, you might have to work general care, med/surg for a while before getting into an ICU -- but maybe not.

Since you know you want to go into an ICU as soon as you graduate, I would ask if any of those programs offer a good chance for you to do a preceptorship in an ICU as a student? That might be the key in getting into an ICU early in your career.

But in the end, there are no guarantees -- and you will simply have to be prepared for a few bumps in the road, delays, expenses, etc. regardless of which path you choose. Those the one that "feels" right to you and then adapt to whatever the consequences of that choice are with no regrets.